Shoot-out participants continue despite COVID-19

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11 photojournalists document city in crisis

Everything was pretty much ready to go for this spring’s Shoot-out in New York City. Then, as with so many other things, along came COVID-19 and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York issued a ban on meetings of more than 500 people.

“The spread of this coronavirus is not going to stop on its own, and we know that mass gatherings have been hotspots for the virus to infect large numbers of people quickly,” Cuomo said.

Under the guidance announced by Cuomo, most gatherings of more than 500 people were banned, including the College Media Association conference.

“Mr. Cuomo’s decision to limit gatherings of more than 500 people was an especially heavy blow to the theater industry, a crown jewel of New York City’s tourist trade. Last season, the industry drew 14.8 million patrons and grossed $1.8 billion,” according to an article in The New York Times March 12.

Quickly, the conference evolved and Saturday sessions, including the critique of the Photo Shoot-out led by Jack Zibluck, were moved to Friday. Otherwise, it continued as normal with 11 participants.

“In retrospect, the CMA convention was a crucible and an example of our new, changing, and unstable reality,” said Zibluck. “Our students adjusted. Our Shoot-out project, which morphed from ‘Postcards from NYC’ to ‘the only story that mattered’ went well. We had 14 participants [in the closing critique], double the participation of most other sessions, and we had the usual divisions between artistic expression and journalistic work. We had a really good discussion. The winners caught the sense of isolation. The subjects were masked. And alone. In the most populous city in the country.
Sometimes a visual expression says more than anything I can describe verbally.
SECOND PLACE by Saugat K. Shrestha, University of Louisiana Monroe (Christopher Mapp, adviser) [email protected];
Subways are getting emptier. A man sits inside an almost empty train on Thursday at noon. The virus has a significant effect upon Newyork city traffic. “People are avoiding trains and subways, and they are taking other alternatives to go their work,” said the passenger on a Subway to Brooklyn.

Alicia Otto, a photographer from Missouri Western University said, at first, “It was quite an experience, one that I was looking forward to very much.” 

However, clearly it was not the ideal time to be photographing on the streets of New York.

“… I sought out people who appeared as if they would welcome my contact,” Otto, who goes to school with about 5,000 other students, said. “I will add here that I had an adverse experience with a local New Yorker on their way to work that week. I was verbally ‘dressed-down’ for not walking quickly enough on the sidewalk because it was commuting time! Also, the last time I was in New York and taking photos, I was yelled at by a homeless person whose picture I wasn’t even taking. That being said, I was a little hesitant to seek out locals that didn’t look like they really wanted me to approach them.”

Ah, New York.

“So, despite it all, the students really did the job,” Zibluck said.

THIRD PLACE by Prajal Prasai of the University of Louisiana (Monroe) (Christopher Mapp, adviser)
Unafraid: Tyler is an Uptown New York resident who works for Comedy Club. Despite the dwindling number of tourists, he says,” The business is good for us as the Broadway is closed. Tyler feels prepared in case there is a city-wide lockdown. He has savings and has grocery stocked to last him for a few months. As a result, he does not feel scared during this COVID-19 pandemic.

FIRST PLACE and CLASS FAVORITE TIE: Katherine Hui of Rice University (Kelley Callaway, adviser)

SECOND PLACE: Saugat K. Shrestha, University of Louisiana Monroe (Christopher Mapp, adviser)

THIRD PLACE: Prajal Prasai of the University of Louisiana (Monroe) (Christopher Mapp, adviser)

CLASS FAVORITE TIE: Michael Pieper, Delta College (Crystal McMorris, adviser)

Michael Pieper, Delta College (Crystal McMorris) [email protected]
“New York City workers stay cautious as America slowly shuts down around them”.
Armed with masks, workers around The Big Apple brave the public while the threat of COVID-19 remains imminent on March 12th, 2020. More than 46 states have reported cases of the widespread of virus known as COVID-19 or “Coronavirus”, making it one of the biggest concerns in America this spring. Michael Pieper, March 12th, 2020.

ON-SITE COORDINATOR: Jack Zibulck, University of Tennessee (Chattanooga)

JUDGES: Abigail Gibbs, Danielle Veenstra, Deanne Brown, Don Green, Eric Thomas, Ethan Hyman, Gina Claus, Greg Cooper, Griff Singer, Jane Blystone, Jeff Grimm, Jessica Christian, JG Domke, Jill Chittum, Jim McNay, John Beale, Judy Babb, Kaelin Mendez, Kelly Glasscock, Kim McCarthy, Larry Steinmetz, Laura Ivie, Laurie Hansen, Makena Busch, Margaret Sorrows, Matt Stamey, Mitch Ziegler, Nicole Gravlin, Pat Gathright, Pooja Pasupula, Randy Stano, Richard Schultz, Ryan Welch, Sam Oldenburg, Sergio Luis Yanes, Sharin Chymley, Steven Dearinger, Tom Winski


CMA NYC 2020